I am flooded with replys to my earlier email. I regret that I can not speak with each of you one on one but with 8 children I am streched for time so I will send you all this email.
Thank you for your concern.
On June 14th (my anniversary) a few of my children (I have 8) took me to Applebee's for lunch. For my own privacy I asked for the corner booth. I sat facing into the corner not facing the room. My then 7 month old baby boy needed to nurse so we did. A server (Jessica Balswick) came to me and stated that the manager asked her to come speak to me because she was a female. She said the manager said if we wanted to breastfeed we had to cover the baby's head with a blanket. I told her since it was hot out that I didn't have a blanket. She reiterated so I stopped nursing and asked to speak with the manager. As we waited the baby cried so I passed him across the table to my oldest son (almost 18 yrs old) so he could help comfort his as I was a bit shook up. The baby was inconsolable so I told my son to take him to the van and I would come to nurse him as soon as I spoke with the manager. When the manager (Justin Arnolds) came I handed him a copy of the KRS 211.755 law that I keep in my diaper bag. I said "I would like you to educate yourself and your employees of this law that protects breastfeeding mothers." He handed it back to me after glancing over it and said "I know but somebody complained it was indecent exposure so you have to cover the baby with a blanket if you want to breastfeed here". I again held out the paper saying "look at part 3 of the law, it says no person shall interfere with a woman breastfeeding her child". He said the same exact thing as before "I know but somebody complained it was indecent exposure so you have to cover the baby with a blanket if you need to breastfeed here." At that exact moment our server came back with our meal and I said "We can not eat this because I have to go breastfeed my baby." As I exited the hostess asked what was wrong and I told her very briefly and said "I don't see anyone else eating under a blanket in here."
I went to the van, nursed my baby, cried, and called my local LLL leader Karen. She told me to get the manager and servers name. She gave me names and addresses of people I needed to let know about this incident.
Our lawyer wrote a letter on June 27, 2007 to Applebee's restaurant (4009 Nicholasville Rd., Applebee's Corporate Headquarters 249 E Main St. (Mike Scanlon) The Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept. (Doraine Bailey), The KY Breastfeeding Promotion Coordinator (Becky Derifield) and the LLL Karen Brown.
The letter was ignored.
Our lawyer wrote another letter on July 25, 2007.
On August 3, 2007 Thomas & King, Inc. Legal Department finally responded. Mr Jonathan R. Weatherby, Jr. Associate General Counsel wrote "we regret that Ms. Ryan left without being served and would like the opportunity to personally invite her to return" .... "we are also considering keeping blankets in the restaurants for use by breast-feeding mothers that may not have them readily available as a result of this incident."
My husband gasped when he read this response. They just don't get it. It is like saying "Rosa Parks still has to sit at the back of the bus but we will give her a pillow so she is comfortable back there."
My midwife suggested I speak with the Senator that spearheaded getting the KRS211.755 law. I left a message for Senator Tom Buford and the next day he called me back. I asked him what recourse I had. He said "If you take them to small claims court you could get up to $1,500.00" .... "if you take them to a higher court you may not even get enough to cover your legal fees." I told the Senator I was not interested in money. I want things to change. I want public attention on this cause. I have daughters that will someday breastfeed. I want action not money. I told Senator Buford about my nurse in/out idea and he thought it sounded great. In fact he said "let me know the date and I will come by and support you" .... he also said "hold a sign up saying -small children are not allowed to eat in this restaurant." I said "can I quote you on that" and he said "yes!" Senator Buford said "next time any one does this tell them to call the police and get a police report written up on it."
Since August is "World Breastfeeding Awareness Month" I am having one nurse-out at the Fayette Mall just to raise awareness. This is not in any way to attack the mall .... it is just a place to hang out at. I am late arranging this so it will not actually be in August but then again what is one day. It will be September 1st.
The second event is actually to draw attention to Applebee's restaurant. Friends and supporters will decorate posters and display them for all to see.
I will paste a copy of the flyer for each of the two events here for all to copy and share.
Applebee's violated KRS 211.755
Educate Lexington that KY law protects public
breastfeeding and mothers should never be
asked to move, hide, cover up, or leave.
Decorate posters and display them
at a peaceful Nurse-Out.
THEME: Breastfeeding in public is Legal
DATE: Saturday, September 8, 2007
(in case of rain date 9/22/07)LOCATION: 4009 Nicholasville Road
On the public sidewalk
in front of Applebee's
Exercise caution and do not block the right of way.
News crews will be reporting.
Do not park in Applebee's parking lot!
I hope everyone can pass this on to as many as possible.
Every "quotation" is in the exact wording.
I am also willing to share copies of the actual correspondence between our lawyer and Applebee's.
Thank you for your support,
Face the rear for MORE than a year! Toddlers' necks are safest in a rear facing carseat
(I do not want to even start on the dismay I feel toward the Applebee's manager.)
I hate Applebee's - never eat there. I will continue to never eat there!
Wish I was in your area for the nurse-out/in.
Wonderful that the seantor is so supportive. I hope he comes and gets lots of press and makes Applebee's look foolish.
Is there somewhere I can get an iron on of the BF friendly icon? Or an aggressively pro BF tee shirt? I have a hot temper, and this is one of the things that really gets it flaring.
I passed this on to my two local homeschool loops, too, so maybe I can drum up some more supporters!!
wish i was close enough to participate in the nurse-in.
"we are also considering keeping blankets in the restaurants for use by breast-feeding mothers that may not have them readily available as a result of this incident."
I feel sick just reading about it!
|there are applebees all over the damn country, maybe a nationwide would be cool?|
I can't believe that... keeping blankets on hand? EW! Can you imagine how disgusting that would be?
Sunny : gun toting, retired breastfeeding, car seat loving, guitar playing, home birthing and schooling mama to Jakob (10.06), Mikah (07.08) and Korah (07.11).
So, according to that manager, one person's opinion trumps Kentucky LAW?
DH, when I told him about the incident and their proposed policy, suggested that the blankets be given to the person whol is complaining.
My own thought, given their insistence that the baby's head be covered, is to wonder when the head became one of those body parts that are supposed to be covered. Was the complainer's head covered?
Go for it. Take them to court. File whatever complaints you need to.
I like the Senator's suggestion to have them call the police. As soon as the mother hands the officers a copy of the law, the person violating the law will be the one answering for their crime. I like the irony of that.
Happy nursing on 1st.
I think nationwide would be good...I would love to participate, if they were bothered by a 7 month old what would they think of my 42 inch tall 2.5 year old nursing?
Hello, I am writing to verify whether or not it is true that your restaurants are not friendly to breastfeeding mothers, even if it is in violation of the state's law? Is it also true that your company is considering providing a nursing mother a blanket to cover her baby's head? I find this hard to believe so I am trying to verify this information. I find it hard to believe because it is such a ridiculous idea. Are you going to be providing blankets to cover the heads of all patrons who eat in your restaurant. Or just to those who are unable to mind their own business and keep from staring at a mother feeding her child. I am sure many of your customers show more skin in their everyday attire than I do while nursing. Are you going to provide trenchcoats for them to wear so I will not be offended? Please reply ASAP so I can determine if I need to bother visiting your restaurant, ever again, for a meal.
I would be at my local applebees nursing my 2yo in a heartbeat...gona ask DP if he wants to eat out this weekend.. Although he cant stand their food so I dunno if that will work.
Mom to Bouncy Breastfed DD Loving Woman to DH, RIP DS Born at 22 weeks
J/K Holy cow - Is anyone going to do nurse ins in other states? We'll now carry blankets for nursing mothers. I'm not even going there. I can't believe it. That is such a stupid, ua violation response. This needs national attention. I'm so mad, I have nothing more to say until I calm down.
mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C
Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)
It is UNBELIEVABLE that a manager would ask a woman to NOT BREASTFEED HER BABY when it is her lawful right to do so. She is not required, by law, to cover herself. The restaurant is required, BY LAW, to accommodate her and her infant. If your other customers don't want to look at her, perhaps they should turn away or COVER THEIR HEADS with the blanket. Applebees is in a whole lot of trouble over this. You are going to see angry moms outside your door picketing, letter writing, and Senators showing up and speaking in front of your establishment, discussing for the evening news how illegal and WRONG this kind of treatment of nursing mothers is. Oh, and an apology would be nice as well.
I told Senator Buford about my nurse in/out idea and he thought it sounded great. In fact he said "let me know the date and I will come by and support you" .... he also said "hold a sign up saying -small children are not allowed to eat in this restaurant." I said "can I quote you on that" and he said "yes!"
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